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Peggy Archer's Top 10 places to Spend Entire Paycheck

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LA is home to many tv and film professionals. One thing that you learn about production crews is they're typically easy-going, funny, and amazingly smart. They've seen it all: the tantrums, the egos, the drama, the abuse, and the beauty. They laugh it off and wait till its time to break everything down, go home, and do it again in the morning.

The "stars" come and go but the real pros have been doing what they do every day.

Peggy Archer is a crew professional who writes a kickass blog, Totally Unauthorized, where she writes a little about the long hours and thankless grunt work, but also captures some of the oddities of our fair city. LAist particularly likes her photos of abandoned curbside couches.

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We are very pleased that she accepted our invitation to give us her Top 10 places to spend her entire paycheck:

1) Koontz Hardware: Fuck Home Depot and their huge aisles filled with crappy stuff and a staff who don't give a damn. If you can fit down Koontz's narrow aisles, you'll find just about anything you need to wire, fix or build, well, anything. They also have a very knowledgeable staff who are more than happy to walk one through basic home repairs and brainstorm about work problems. They also have really neato stuff that I don't need,but compulsively buy anyway.

2) Electronic City: In the film industry, we put stuff to weird uses - like powering lights mounted in a pickup truck's bed with 6 marine batteries connected together - and most of the stuff we use isn't carried by conventional hardware stores, or even conventional electronic stores. Electronic city have it all, and they're used to movie electricians coming in and asking for strange things, like an adapter for a piece of equipment that hasn't been manufactured since 1864. They carry just about any kind of electronic cable, meter, adapter, connector and the stuff to make it all work, plus they have a very friendly staff who have never yet looked at me like I've lost my mind - even the time when I accidentally cut my cable TV line with a weed whacker and needed the stuff to repair it before The Daily Show aired.

3) Mole-Richardson: Bags and tapes and sprays and random strange tools. This place has everything set workers need - admittedly at a premium price - including a lot of items one can't get anywhere else for any amount of money.

4) Ver-Sales: The rigging geek's Mecca. I don't even know what half the stuff in there actually is, but I still want it.

5) REI: On set all night and need waterproof clothing that won't give you that icky encased-in-vinyl feel? Tired of having sore feet from 16 hour days and want anti-blister socks? How about a crushable sun hat with built in SPF and a lifetime guarantee or a shirt that magically wicks the sweat out of your pits when it's 110 degrees outside? REI's the place, and I spend way, way too much money in here on a regular basis.

6) Warner Brothers Lot Mill Store: This is where the really, really cheap DVDs are on the Warner Brothers lot. Tons of them, and titles from every time period in the studio's history, plus CDs, T shirts, and various logo merchandise that I always give to the family as holiday gifts - I may roll my eyes at the thought of a gold-plated bugs bunny key chain, but they love it.

7) Whole Foods Market: I know, I know. I can get the same crap at Ralph's for half the price, but it's just not the same.

8)Trader Joes: I can get the same stuff here as I can at Ralph's but for half the price, which means I spend WAY more. Whoever you are Joe, damn you.

9) Lush: All kinds of girly, pastel soaps, shower gels, face creams and assorted gook that smell great and just make me happy.

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10) Barneys New York: Hey, a girl's gotta have an outfit for when she's not at work, now doesn't she?

photo by Peggy Archer